Janice recently retired after 32 years as a yoga instructor. To prepare for retirement, a few years ago Janice decided to sell her home of 18 years where she maintained beautiful, but labor intensive, gardens. (She sold the home to Paul Mercier.)
On her acre of land, Janice has a tiny apartment in the same building as her yoga studio. “At first, I thought I wouldn’t have a garden at all, just a field. Then I had second thoughts. I felt I had plant allies that I didn’t want to part with. So I dug up about 20 plants and started a small 4 x 28 foot garden. Some feel special to me because of their blue color like the Gentians. Others I love because they attract pollinators. Others, I just enjoy being in their presence.”
For those plants in the field outside her well cared for garden, Janice has a very “New Hampshire” philosophy about them: Live Free or Die. From what I saw first hand, the purple chicory, maroon cosmos, black-eyed Susan’s, daisies, goldenrod, pink phlox, thistle, coneflowers, and Queen Ann’s lace are not only living but thriving. Along with the sight and smell of flowers, we enjoyed the buzz of bees near her “Pollinator Work Zone” sign.
Going from her fairly shady property to an open field has had a dramatic impact. For example, in 2004 she bought 10 white cedar trees from the NH State Forest Nursery through the Sullivan County UNH Extension Service. They were bare root cuttings which she planted around the frog pond in the woods beside her previous home. Those that survived grew only a few feet in 10 years. Since being transplanted to her sunny field, they’ve grown 6 feet in as many years.
Janice had an unsightly, five-foot high, plastic septic vent pipe in her field. She built a wire cage with 4x4's and turkey wire to keep it vented and wanted to build a rock structure around it. Luckily her son Gabe and some of his friends visited and energetically went to work on it. First they moved all the rocks from a rock wall Janice had built at her other house. They then trucked the rocks to the site and erected the cairn. According to Janice “They were just what I needed for this project: young healthy males trying to outdo each other. It was built in less than a day!” Now when you spot that large cairn as you drive on old Rte 10, you’ll know the rest of the story.
When I asked Janice about a tree that was decorated with shiny metallic bows, she explained that she tied 32 bows in memory of all the students she has taught with each bow representing a year. What a wonderful legacy for Janice. Not only has she helped so many plants stay healthy, but so many human beings as well.